Everything You Need to Know About the CMA Awards Voting Process
Ever wondered why your favorite artist wasn't front and center when the envelopes got opened at the CMA Awards? Of course you have -- there's always a difference of opinions when nominees, and then winners, are revealed each year at the annual awards show.
Lucky for our readers, The Boot has some intel on how the voting process, both to determine the year's nominees and to crown each year's winners, works. We consulted the Country Music Association's official CMA Awards voting rules to explain.
Who Makes Up the Country Music Association?
The Country Music Association is a 6,800-plus-member affiliation of industry professionals from within 17 eligible categories: advertising / public relations / media, affiliated, artist, composer, entertainment services, international, marketing / digital, musician, personal manager, producer / engineer / studio, publisher / PRO, radio, record company, talent agent, talent buyer / promoter, touring personnel and venue. Those who work full-time in one of those categories and earn their income mostly from within the country music industry pay an annual membership fee if they wish to be part of the CMA.
Companies within the country music industry can also apply for CMA membership, though they are not eligible to vote for the CMA Awards.
Who Can Vote for the CMA Awards?
Only CMA members are allowed to take part in the three-ballot CMA Awards process. Each registered member of the CMA is issued a CMA member number and a PIN to certify their votes.
All CMA members can vote in 11 of the awards show's 12 categories; however, voters in the final category, Musician of the Year, are limited to musician, composer, producer / engineer / studio, and artist category CMA members.
Who Is Eligible to Win at the CMA Awards?
Nominees in each of the 12 CMA Awards categories do not have to be CMA members themselves. Eligibility is determined based on the period of July 1 of the previous year through June 30 of the current year; in other words, for the 2020 CMA Awards, voters should be considering work done in the period of July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021.
However, in addition to those broad qualifications, there are certain, more-specific eligibility requirements for each of the 12 CMA Awards categories. The Country Music Association explains those in detail on their website.
How Does the CMA Awards Voting Process Work?
The CMA Awards voting process involves three rounds:
Round One: The first CMA Awards ballot is for nominations. CMA members are allowed to make one nomination per category, based on an artist's work in the previous 12 months (that July 1-June 30 period); however, they are not required to make a nomination in every category.
The top 20 nominees in each category are automatically advanced to the second round of voting, with the exception of the Entertainer of the Year category. The Entertainer of the Year category only includes the top 15 nominees, at most, and every nominee must have a minimum of 10 votes to advance.
Round Two: The next step in the CMA Awards voting process is the second ballot. During this round, members are allowed to vote for up to five of the whittled-down nominees in each category; once again, members do not have to vote in every category. The results are calculated by an independent accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and the top five nominees in each category move on to the final round.
Round Three: The third and last step in the CMA Awards voting process is the final ballot. CMA members are allowed, once again, to vote for only one nominee in each category; once again, members are not required to vote in every category. The Deloitte & Touche agents who tabulate the votes are the only individuals with knowledge of the results before the CMA Awards take place during a live-broadcast ceremony.
How Can I Find Out the Winners of the CMA Awards?
The 2021 CMA Awards are scheduled to take place on Nov. 10. The event will air live from Nashville beginning at 8PM ET on ABC.
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2021 CMA Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest CMAs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
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